A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Posts tagged ‘Eilidh’

The Bealach, a World Problem Solver.

In the grand scheme of things Applecross is a pretty decent place to live despite all the ups and downs, the stresses of community work with breakdowns and installing, designing new systems. Every now and again you get a little time which if you are in the moment is worth so much to the spirit. Although it was not a very productive day in that I did not go to sea, there was a lot on the cards. I left slightly early for more work on my arm at Shieldaig so I could stop on the top of the Bealach. I was not disappointed. I had the company of two of my best friends. Alison was on the way back from a Rural Housing Conference and I was not sure when she was back in Applecross. Weather was bright and fresh,


snow crisp and clean, Eilidh and Dougal ready for a mess about in the snow. They stopped briefly for one


or two


posed photos


but the way they gambled about made for a laugh out loud. Dougal of course has to go one better and ruffles his fur in the wind.


Stunning views all around and one never, ever tires of them. Although I was still time limited that twenty minutes felt as though the weight had dropped off and all was well in the world. Surely a solution to some of the worlds problems would be to take Trump, Cameron, Putin et al, take them to the top of the Bealach and all their issues over Trident, Mexicans and what suit you wear would pale into insignificance when they look around at the wonder of the world they live in.


Applecross Hydro on Youtube and Samhain

Couple of quiet days with a sharp contrasts in the weather. Yesterday, with the forecast against going out but the day not too bad, I went with the forecast, meaning I did not bother going out. Pretty fresh by the end of the afternoon. Still have plenty kept over the side of the Varuna. Settled next week so there is little or no pressure. Decided to have a wee look at the new mast at Toscaig.


Ground a little wet and there was a young stag for Eilidh and Dougal to chase, but once that was done we made it up to the highest point looking over to Kyle and Glenelg which takes the signal from Mallaig exchange.


Must admit to being very attached to these two and often think of Jenny when I am sat on a rock, surrounded by all this beauty. Jenny was always restless and wanted to keep going. These two seem very content to routle about in the undergrowth


while I take a little time out.


Some lovely timber


and colours on the way back.


Monies still coming to the share offer and we have cracked the next hundred thousand, just another four to go. Must top up the yard this weekend. We also have a fair number of pledges, with hopefully a good percentage coming through. The more raised by the share offer the more the community benefits. Something that is missed by a few. At the Inn we are getting a very positive feedback and there are many comments in favour of the scheme. Just finished listening to the Lesley Riddoch podcast and both Lesley and Chris are talking very positively about community shares in general and specifically mention Applecross. http://www.lesleyriddoch.com/the-lesley-riddoch-podcast/ There is a wonderful video produced by Val, voice over by Gordon and music put together and played by Sean and Annie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLrwFEKrMIg. and as usual will add in the http://www.applecrosshydro.scot, webpage which gives you all the information and links to the business prospectus and contact details if any needed.

Another quietish day which involved a bit of creel washing


and swimming for Dougal.


A few green crabs end up in the creels as they lay on the pier, so as they go into the water Dougal decides that he has to investigate. They are still alive so no sign of them as Dougal arrives on the scene. Of course the crabs are long gone and after a few circles he heads back into the shore. The beauty of cycling to and from destinations in Applecross you see little gems by the roadside everywhere.


Tonight at the Inn it was quiet and peaceful. No one waiting any length of time for a table and the first time the Dinning Room has not been used on a Saturday evening. Halloween or Samhain tonight so there were one or two strange sights about. Seemed to be a Peter Pan theme



on the go with a little Still Game thrown in.


A blonde witch


and of course two All Blacks,


soon to be Ninjas, but very happy after their triumph in the afternoon. Samhain is one of the four seasonal Celtic festivals which heralds the start of winter. Celtic Pagan origins and it is reckoned that this time of year it is easiest to cross over to the other side. So spirits and faeries could come into this world. Although they were not faeries there were definitely other worldly happening at the Inn. Joe’s is where it’s at tonight and I will be cycling past, waking up with a clear head tomorrow morning.

(Sunday evening) A busy day where every table was full for most of the day. The sort of day where a couple would finish their meal, head off and another couple would wander in. Not the business of summer but it is the beginning of November. Made it through the ten hours unscathed and a little time off to see how the turbine house is getting on


and seems to be in good shape with the boys getting the scaffolding in place for the trusses to go up tomorrow and hence the gable ends.


Brickies scheduled to be away on Wednesday and the joiners in today for a start tomorrow. Think we are fortunate with the weather again this week. Up till Saturday anyway

Mixing Old and New.

A look at the snaps taken and you change your mind about not a lot happening in the community and there about. Saturday saw me out reasonably early and a rapid 300 hauled before going in ostensibly to watch the rugby, poor fool that I was. Supporting Scotland in just about anything at the moment takes so much out of you whether it is community, nationhood or just sport. Although it was the poorest performance so far there is always the next game and hope springs eternal. The Irish are always the best team to lose to as are the French. Lovely and quiet day at sea


and the fishing not too bad, the creels seem to need a longer lying time or soak to catch a decent amount of prawns. That is why most boats have so many creels and now miss days at sea. In the past hauling creels every day or at least every second day was the norm. Sign of the times now that they have to be left 2/4 days to give up a good haul. Part of the eclipse, moon etc has resulted in a very big tide and only just getting the dingy into the shore.


Signs of spring appearing although I am sure winter will be back, the first bonxie of the year in the morning. Just a scout around and did not land for a feed. Sometimes you see as much colour here as you would in the Red Sea or the Caribbean.


So after the rugby it was up to the Inn, nice cloud cover to the West


and a busy but easy night, everyone heading off by ten before the recyclers from the Hall arrived for an on the road coffee before going home. It all got slightly surreal when the survival suit came out and Lynne put it on, part of Anne’s dolphin rescue outfit and very fetching it is. What the dolphins make of it….. Donald walked away with his own cup with his many entries. There was a recycle down at the pier today. This shed used to be a freezer shed at the Inn and now is going to enjoy another life as a fishing shed. Looking a bit drafty at the moment but I am sure there are plans for improvements.


Sunday shift at the Inn was as quiet as has been for the last couple of months and had plenty of time to wander down to the Bay


to take a couple of shots.


There was a family digging for spoots and he obviously knew what he was doing in the way he was walking backwards.




Today after a slow start a trip with the dogs down to the pier to mend some creels getting ready for the summer hauls. On the way down noticed for the first time a ruin just below the bench on the Craig Darroch and stopped for a look.


No idea what this was, best guess a sheep shelter if not for the opening to the west.


No suggestions although lots of interest from Dougal and Eilidh.


Synchronised all round watch.


They amuse themselves while I am mending, Jenny was not good at that and got easily bored. With the iPod on shuffle it was a mix of the old and new. Mending fishing gear and listening to new fangled music. The shuffle feature gives one many pleasant surprises. One minute you are listening to an Alabama Gospel choir belting out Amazing Grace then its John Prine, Neil Young, Van the Man and a bit of Floyd before you are into the Peatbogs and Cathy Anne Macphee singing Canan Nan Gaidheal. Music takes you to places all around the world and then back home. And it is back home that is providing some fine sights. A stop off in the shed to refill the mending needles and wait for the shower to pass, but when it passed you are treated to yet another magnificent spectacle,


a rainbow of fine proportions stretching across the moorings.


Was earmarked to go to Rona for Sean to do some work on the system over there and as the Wedding is this weekend there was a little pressure to get over before the weather breaks. Sean with a spot of flu called off but on for tomorrow. Early start to get most of the way before the northerly blows up. The ay back will be fine with the motion and wind on the stern. Only blot on the day was the dentist appointment, nipped over the Hill in double-quick time to find locked door and realise appointment is for tomorrow. The joys of rural living without a diary.

The Community Company battles on, seems Vodafone cannot work with third-party networks as BT are the best. They provide half a meg while the AppleNet Broadband with a few exceptions is around five meg. But BT are deemed better and they also consider themselves to be better than our attempts at providing a phone box at the Filling Station. I think we may well do better than this although it has to be said the bar has not been set very high.


“Every River I try to Cross”

Quite an up and down three days, glad to say that it is finishing on the up. Wednesday morning and I was almost excited about going out fishing. Just too long not being on the water. Did not expect many if any prawns but was under instructions to get some for the Inn and some squats as well. Dave, Ryan’s dad managed to catch one on the shore up the coast so needs must. Lovely start to the day with the sun shinning on the stern on the way out,


an unusual number of gulls on St Island


and Eagle’s Rock looking resplendent under Bienn Clachan.


Surprising day on two counts. There were a few prawns and there were very few snagged gear, considering how long since they had been hauled. Lifted one or two from the south ends and found quite a numbers of this years marine growth.


Always look forward to seeing this regeneration as it tells me that we are not destroying the eco system completely and hopefully there will be a harvest ready for the next year. Unfortunately although I had started the day with a dull headache and thought nothing off it it slowly progressed into a much more severe one to the extent I was for heading home. But displaying a bit of pure Scottish thrawn I kept going to the next fleet, always keeping in mind Dave’s one squat lobster. My misfortune was that I had only about twenty squats on board so I had to head for a 35 fathom fleet of Applecross Head. Very relieved to be rewarded with a basket of squats so kept it together, managed to shoot the fleet back very badly but by this time I was thinking of getting to my couch for a lie down. Tailed and landed the catch and crashed for an hour before heading back to the Inn for a shift. Boss away so knew staff were light on the ground. Still head was not in good shape but no migraine so thought I had worked throughout it not getting one.

Not so. Yesterday morning started bad and deteriorated to just bad. The pain is special, for me it is so bad I cannot lie down as it hurts so much, so the day was spent holding my head throwing up and dozing not always in that order. By 3.20pm I had given up any hope of turning out at the Inn and Caroline stepped in to cover as Judith was not back till half way through. Luckily it was very quiet so did not feel too bad in letting them down, Mind you ten o’clock before I felt slightly human. Bed again with a couple of bananas and a glass of water. Not over yet as a half one and half four painkillers had to be consumed to see the night through and back on the couch. Thinking back it is interesting remembering what you think about, mostly the mundane but in this instance there were two things that came to mind first was a couple of Saturdays ago there were four people in the Inn that night I knew who were in trouble with their health, serious trouble, and they ranged from very young to middle-aged so to some extent that eases the pain as I know in a day or so it is okay for me just a memory. Reading that back sounds really selfish but a migraine is just that it is a migraine. The other thing of comment was I was thinking of the NWMCWCo Ltd having met one of the movers and shakers from the island. Albeit they have good ground and have teen over a well-managed forest but they have taken on a £600,000 debt and paid that off in two-year, established twelve forest crofts, building a Hydro scheme and now are getting stuck into providing affordable housing. Yesterday could not help thinking if only…… They have people in their community who rail against what they do as well as we have. It is just the nature of things, “an armoured back” he said is needed.

Today’s start was a little confused with dregs of painkillers floating about but after a healthy breakfast and some caffeine things got underway. The offer to work a shift tonight was not needed so it was over the Hill to Shieldaig to Sarah’s for much-needed Thai Massage. Been suffering from a very sore neck muscle pull needing a fair bit off attention. Arrived on time but no sign of Sarah so went to Nanny’s for a fine cappuccino and coffee cake and Sarah arrived twenty minutes late….Lynne backed me up on this so Sarah really confused as she thought she was forty minutes early. Turns out she was, don’t know what Lynne’s excuse was, mine was I was in migraine recovery phase. So for at least a couple of hours Sarah was under the impression she had lost one. Cracking workout and not too painful so made it home through the mist and rain with ease. On the way I had stopped to take a shot off how bleak it looked


but on the way back even on a day like this, dismal and wet, the colours were still there by the roadside.


The water was racing down every hill you passed, the Bealach looking the at its perfect Highland best. White water appearing out of a glowering mist, a good place to drive up and over to home.


Stop off at the Inn, shed building progressing,


to drop off some more calendars, thanks to every one who are buying them, you are helping our community live, and more at the shop before coming in for the dogs and a walk round the Camusterrach/Camusteel circuit. Put the headphones on and for no reason at all stuck Runrig on. Apart from mistiming the walk during the rush hour, must have been passed by more than ten cars in the forty-five minutes, the misty dusk, wind and company of Dougal and Eilidh


were the final part of the recuperation. Felt as I was returning a favour as they knew I was in trouble yesterday and they tried to help, lying beside me, on me in the case of Dougal,


and licking my neck and head. Lovely dogs and Jenny has done well by them. With Runrig playing, this completed the day especially when “Every River” came on “Every river I try to cross” the first line of a powerful chorus took me home in no time in the gloom of the west coast, but it is home. All that was left to do was cook off a couple of Grant’s of Dornoch sirloins via the Inn and watch Martyn Bennet’s Documentary about the album Grit, something I have to buy. Brilliant but so poignant. So as usual nothing much to say and signing off with the sonorous,melodic sounds of Sorley Maclean reciting “Hallaig” on Bothy Culture.

Walking the Dogs in an Applecross Sunset

Awesome evening going up the Tor Mor with Dougal and Co. Looking to the south-west with the sun still up.


Dougal was on the move digging for rodents and general rushing about so it was left to his gran Jenny and his mum Eildh to pose.



You cannot help but be moved by this place.


The western highlands are quite simply and truely awesome.


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